Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña Department of Science and Technology
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang
01 March 2017


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. This morning we are fortunate to have Secretary Fortunato dela Peña. He is from the Department of Science and Technology.

Prior to his appointment, he was Undersecretary of the DOST from 2001 to 2014 and he worked at the University of the Philippines as Vice President for Planning and Development and Director of Institute for Small Scale Industries.

He is also Chairman of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Professorial Lecturer in Industrial Engineering. He was chair of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development from 2011 to 2012.

Considering the fact that the Philippines is interested in furthering space involvements, it’s most welcome — space technology development, big words. [laughs]

We’d like to welcome our guest today, Secretary Fortunato “Boy” dela Peña. Please, sir. 

SEC. DELA PEÑA: Thank you very much Secretary Abella. Good morning to everyone.

This is a very good opportunity to share with you our programs at the Department of Science and Technology for which we have a [how do you call it?] motto or — ? Oo, science for the people.

So the next slide will show us that there are actually four among the 10-point agenda of President Duterte where we think we can contribute from the sector of Science and Technology.

And the first one, of course, for the first time in our history, a president has included the promotion of science, technology, and innovation in his priority agenda.

The second one is increase in competitiveness; the third is promoting value chain development; and the fourth is investing in human capital.

In all of these, we believe the science and technology sector and DOST in particular can contribute can contribute significantly.

The next one, actually the basis for our new Philippine Development Plan which we are happy to announce, has been approved last January — ah, February 20, is based on these, shall we say, policies of enhancing the social fabric, reducing inequality, and increasing the potential for growth. So all our programs are actually supportive of this.

The next slide shows…Actually, this is a 12-item agenda in our plan and there are…

First among these will be the research and development component. This is our biggest activity, one of our biggest activity, research and development, and we have categorized them into a number of categories.

The first one is those that will address pressing problems. An example will be in the area of help self-sufficiency. We are expanding our drug discovery and development program, together with the others like diagnostics development, biomedical engineering, malnutrition reduction, and early detection of disease outbreak.

The next slide, still on pressing problems. We have this agenda on food and nutrition. We are still one of the countries in the region which has a very high incidence of malnutrition among children below three years old.

The next one is an agenda… [Richard, please next slide.] Is… This is on the agricultural side and our priorities are really number one, reinvigorating the coconut industry through new technologies for replanting and, of course, we have been focusing now on how we can propagate and improve the variety of our native livestock, like native chicken, native ducks, native pigs, because in the long run, we forecast that we will be depending a lot more on these native varieties.

Of course, we are addressing disease prevention, particularly in the export commodities like abaca, banana, coconut and papaya and the increased of resiliency of our crops because of the environmental stresses caused by climate change.

Another would be in the area of research and development for biodiversity and sustainable development. We have here, for example, our researches on mangrove rehabilitation on indigenous forestry species, and maybe we should include here the coral reef restorations.

The next will be in the area of transport. This has been started during the earlier administration and we are continuing our research and development for public transport. You may have heard about the hybrid road train, about the automated guide way transit system, about the coaches and the trains that we have developed, hopefully to be adopted by the Philippine National Railways. And we will start this research on small island transport.

Others will be in the area of productivity, in agriculture. Next will be in the area of productivity in the manufacturing sector.

Next will be in the area of tapping and managing and storing renewable energy resources. So we are devoting R&D resources for that.

The next one is in the area of applying new technologies across sectors where you have the modern or emerging technologies like biotechnology, nanotechnology, genomics, information and communications technology, and nuclear science.

They can actually be applied in almost all sectors, from agriculture to health, to industry, to environment.

And there are two new programs that we are launching, the program on artificial intelligence because we foresee a growing market for artificial intelligence products and the program on space technology development, which started with our launching in 2016 of DIWATA-1, the first microsatellite of the Philippines and actually cited by NASA as the poster child of microsatellites, okay.

The next will be a very big area of concern and this is the disaster risk reduction and climate change. We are now in the full implementation of the PAGASA Modernization Law.

We are thankful about the support given to us because DBM has allocated and given us the necessary budget to acquire the needed equipment.

And, of course, this area actually gets an allocation of about one-fourth of our R&D, itong climate change. Maybe just to emphasize the importance of this, we have a newly-appointed undersecretary for disaster risk reduction in the person of Dr. Rene Solidum.

We have Agenda 5, of course, these are the various research projects that you have here. The different names that you have there: hazard mapping, flood forecasting, and other technologies related to forecasting extreme weather conditions, actually are — can be summed up in the program NOAH which has been turned over actually to the different agencies. We have the official turnover of the technologies yesterday — last Monday.

Then we have Agenda 6… Still on Agenda 5, we are, of course, rendering regular services through PAGASA and through the PHIVOLCS, PHIVOLCS in particular on geologic and geophysical phenomena.

So they actually prepare also our people for disasters caused by earthquakes and they do studies about earthquakes, although, of course, earthquake is not yet easy to predict, okay.

The next one, still on disaster and climate change, we have the improvement in the weather prediction, even in the preparedness for volcano earthquake and tsunami disasters and the different development of spatial models for comprehensive land use planning, because we know that in planning for the use of land, you should know where the faults lie, okay, and where the hazards lie.

In the next, you see we have a very long list of researches in climate change and disaster risk reduction.

Next will be in the area of maximizing utilization of research results through technology transfer or commercialization because we are investing much in research and development. We have to make sure that the results of research and development are utilized by the intended sectors or segments.

So there are results of R&D. For example, they can be technologies, they can be products, they can be systems, they can be new information, and our targets are the other line agencies who are in the first place with us in deciding which research projects we will undertake but when we have to roll them out, it should actually be through the line agencies also, whether it is in agriculture or health or industry.

And here in the maximization of the results of R&D, you can see here, an example is — would be the outputs of our research on disaster risk management.

The results are turned over, okay, in terms of flood, hazard resource and vulnerability maps to local government units.

I was in Zamboanga last Thursday and this was one of the things that we had to do to brief the LGUs okay, regarding this.

The deployment of early warning systems actually, we did instrument or equipment development — locally developed equipment like automatic rain gauges, automatic weather stations. These are now locally developed products and there are already companies who have taken the licenses to manufacture and this can be deployed in the different parts of the country.

Agenda 7 is, of course, assistance to the production sector. This is not R&D but actual services. You can see, for example, the word “OneLab”, okay. We introduced an innovation by creating a network of laboratories. We started with the 30 [how many?] six — 15 regional laboratories of DOST and nine national laboratories under DOST, that makes 22.

We were recently joined by the Department of Health laboratories and we expect some more government laboratories to participate in this OneLab concept. This is really the use of ICT also in facilitating the services.

So if you go to a laboratory, for example, in Butuan City and you have a sample to be tested and if they don’t have the facilities there, they will not reject you. They will accept the sample, they will take care of sending it to the nearest laboratory in the network and you can claim your results where you have delivered it or you can just indicate that you want to get the results in e-mail, okay. And we are now arranging for the e-payment system most likely through the Land Bank.

The one expert is for S&T services. It’s really an information system that provides names of experts in almost every area of science and technology where it can help our businesses, industry and academe.

OneSTore — we signed an agreement yesterday with the Development Bank of the Philippines. It’s an online selling facility.

We started this as an assistance to our beneficiary enterprises because we assist the small scale enterprises to upgrade their technology.

And now, they are also have to be supported in terms of marketing. Since OneSTore is a technology-based system for marketing, we had attracted the attention of other interested agencies.

Now DTI also and even our inventors group, okay, have been joining us. We have signed the agreement with Land Bank yesterday. They will handle the e-payment system.

It’s something like, with the help of logistics providers like the Air21 or the bus companies, they can be delivered right at your doorstep, okay.

And the fee is at a minimum, around two percent, except if you want it to be delivered right at your house, there is a 150 pesos extra charge for a maximum of five kilograms, okay.

Anyway, all of these are services — packaging, labeling, testing for quality, et cetera.

Agenda 8 is the updating of our facilities and this will mean that we have to invest more in our laboratories, in our so-called product development centers.

And we are actually having as a priority the capacitating the research centers in the regions, particularly those found in the universities in the regions.

Because you can observe that most of the excellent laboratories are found in the highly urbanized areas.

We think that it is high time that we also assist the research centers in the regions. This is consistent with the desire of the President to hasten the development in the regions.

We will also have business incubators in the regions. This is a map of the new incubators that we are putting up for startup companies.

The next agenda is human resource development. And let me just very quickly state that we support scholarships at different levels.

We start with secondary, where we have been operating the Philippine Science High School for the last 50 years — 52 years. And now, we have opened the last two regional campuses of Philippine Science High School with the opening last August of the regional campus in MIMAROPA located in Romblon and the regional campus for the Zamboanga Peninsula located in Dipolog.

So we have already complied with the provision of law that there should be one campus of Philippine Science High School in every region of the country.

So the others are scholarships for baccalaureate, where we have around 15,000 scholars. We take in around 5,000 scholars every year and around 10 percent of that, 90 percent of those are really below the poverty level, okay.

And we have shown through studies that for every poor scholar that we have graduated at DOST, he can actually lift his whole family from poverty.

Now, we are concentrating also on the MS and PhD scholarships because we are behind in terms of the recommended figures for this.

Now, Agenda Number 10 is really what I already indicated earlier that of really going all-out into the regions, okay, because we think that we have to make the people in the regions feel the benefits from science and technology.

So from laboratories to the delivering of scholarships in the region, to the Science Teacher Academy for the Regions, where we are helping DepEd to train teachers in science and math and others.

Agenda 11 would be the collaboration with industry, academe and international institutions. Very recently, we have made an announcement, a commitment to the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology that we will invite researchers in the regions to benefit from the training that we will be delivering to our researchers.

So instead of just purely having 100 percent local participants, we are reserving slots for ASEAN participants as a commitment to ASEAN. Remember, this is ASEAN [ano?] — Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN.

And the international collaborations very good indications because there has really been an increase in terms of the number of countries who want to collaborate with us and we really have to, well, choose where to focus.

So that in essence would be the agenda that we have. And one thing that I can say, we really would like to contribute to the President’s shall we say, desire of reducing inequality, of creating opportunities, and of expanding our potentials for growth. 

Thank you very much.


Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Good afternoon, sir. After po ma-ratify ni Pangulong Duterte ‘yun pong Paris Climate Change Agreement, may relevance ba ito sa DOST and ano po ang madadagdag sa DOST after po na pagtibayin ng Pangulo ito pong…?

SEC. DELA PEÑA: Well, with the approval, then we have to really focus our programs on how to meet the commitment of the Philippines.

For example, we have made a commitment that between the years 2000 to 2030, we have to reduce our contrib — our carbon emissions by 70 percent. That’s really a big commitment.

And so we have to intensify our research on renewable energies, on energy conservation, and on other areas where we think… 

This is really more on energy use, on energy conservation and, of course, in terms of protecting the environment.

So we have to improve our programs. Like, for example, in our assistance to small-scale enterprises, where before we enable them to acquire equipment for production, now we are opening the system to companies who want to improve — to change, let’s say, from traditional energy source to renewable.

So we can help them acquire the needed equipment ano. The same is true for the use of water. We can assist them if they want to install equipment or systems that can save water in their companies. So these are things that — of course, education will also be an important part.

Alexis Romero (Philippine Star): Secretary, the President previously reveal that there were debates regarding the climate deal, isa po ba kayo doon sa nagsulong ‘nung climate deal at doable ba ‘yung 70 percent considering na hindi naman tayo major pollutant?

SEC. DELA PEÑA: Oo. Well, actually, well, ito ay nangyari noong 2015 ano. And I understand…

Mangungumpisal ako sa inyo, ako po ay nag-retire na noong 2014 at natawag ulit ako ngayong 2016 ano. So ‘yung mga nangyari noon, hindi ko alam ang mga detalye.

But I understand that the DOST was a major participant in the development of our stand in the Paris agreement ano. And so whatever difficulties we may encounter we are bound to extend our support to that.

So I think it is doable if all sectors will cooperate.

Mr. Romero: Okay, isang tanong na lang po para sa akin. Carification lang ‘yung kay Director Solidum, he is now the undersecretary for?

SEC. DELA PEÑA: For Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Affairs.

Mr. Romero: Pero sa PHIVOLCS pa rin po siya?

SEC. DELA PEÑA: Yeah. I’m recommending that he be retained as officer-in-charge.

Mr. Romero: Officer in … Pero papalitan po siya eventually?

SEC. DELA PEÑA: Maybe eventually.

Mr. Romero: So hindi siya pwedeng concurrent?

SEC. DELA PEÑA: Hindi pwede. Kailangan isa lang ang kanyang posisyon.

Mr. Romero: So he is —

SEC. DELA PEÑA: Pwede siyang mag-OIC sa PHIVOLCS.

Mr. Romero: So he is on his way out sa PHIVOLCS?


Mr. Romero: Are we saying he’s on his way out sa PHIVOLCS? As PHIVOLCS chief?

SEC. DELA PEÑA: Maybe, we will have to wait and see. Kung kaya naman niyang hawakang pareho, it’s possible na pwede naman as OIC pero not forever.

Mr. Romero: Ah OIC, so pero para sa inyo isa lang ang puwesto niya?

SEC. DELA PEÑA: Actually, dapat dalawang tao ‘yon ano but then he has so many ongoing programs in PHIVOLCS na sa tingin ko maganda kung medyo hawakan pa niya even as OIC.

Mr. Romero: Okay, salamat po.

SEC. DELA PEÑA: At saka hinihiling ng mga tao sa PHIVOLCS na siya muna ang OIC.

Mr. Romero: Salamat po.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. As the good secretary has indicated that the President has intentions for nation-building, we’d like to continue to give you updates regarding — over this happening locally.

Additional 1,000 jobs in roll-off in auto-manufacturing.

We are pleased to announce the production of 200,000 units of Mirage G4, which the President launched in Malacañang last February 27, which will result in the generation of about 1,000 jobs for Filipinos.

The production of Mirage G4 falls under the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program, chaired by the DTI.

Also, regarding some… The President signs… The Office of the President will submit the signed Instrument of Accession to the Senate for concurrence today.

We have a copy. It will be available — made available by… Right, it will be made available to Ms. Queenie, okay.

Also, some matters arising from last night’s PARC. The requested action from… There were several requested actions from the PARC.

Number one, for the President to certify the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill or House Bill No. 555 as urgent or as administrative.

It was discussed last night but Executive Secretary has said that it will be for study and for complete staff work. Okay.

Second matter that was also requested from the PARC, is the notation on the PARC Execom’s approval on the extension of CAP-PBD Window III towards enhancing ARB Cooperative FAS Agri-Enterprise Corporation This is basically have to do with credit. Okay.

DBM Secretary has suggested that all programs with credit components be submitted to Land Bank for study if it can be actually — if it can actually be accepted by the bank instead of — instead of the actual agency, instead of DAR. Okay.

So, and the third one, requested also from the… Requested action from the PARC. Notation of the PARC Execom’s approval on the strengthening of the PARC Secretariat per Committee’s Resolution No. 2713507. 

This has to do with the strengthening the PARC itself and it’s significant to note that it has been brought back to life by PRRD after 10 years hiatus. And that there was no PARC during the immediate past presidents.

This…In other words, it’s a — they consider it justified and there were no objections regarding the strengthening of the secretariat.

However, the study of the budget requirements will be studied by the DBM because the budget has increased from 15 million to 30 million.

Just one last, regarding the meet up of the President with the workers, some quotes:

“After decades of consistent struggle against the epidemic of contractualization, workers may finally get their demand for its total prohibition, as the President in his first audience with worker groups Monday evening left no doubt that he is not only targeting endo but indeed wants to categorically end all forms of contractualization involving middlemen agencies.”

The President also indicated that he was inclined to honor the request of labor to certify HB 4444 of Representative Raymond Mendoza as an urgent administration measure, with certain provisions.

As he commented: “We were heartened by the pro-poor, pro-worker thinking of the President. We have not had this kind of bold dramatic leadership in previous — in any previous administration before. The President was playing hard ball and for keeps, when he instructed the DOLE to issue a department order consistent with the agreements of the meeting and his directives at the policy is prohibition of both endo and agency contractualization and the restoration of direct hiring as the employment norm.”

Lastly, the President also assured the workers group that he would be holding a separate meeting with the jeepney strikers who held a national strike on the controversial plan to phase out old jeepneys.

It’s significant to note that the three-hour meeting was free-flowing, frank and cordial, with the President applauded several times. And President Duterte [stated] his political capital on clear, unambiguous principal positions that only a true reformer would take.

Further commented… Mendoza further commented: “The safer path would have been for President Duterte to play safe, and say balancing of interests. Instead, the President is blazing new trails so that other leaders will follow. We intend to track and monitor the government agencies who must now keep faith.”

We are open for a few questions.


Joseph Morong (GMA): Sir, kailan po ‘yung meeting doon sa mga jeepney strikers?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: There’s no definite date but there will be…There’s no definite date yet as far as I know. But it will be held… It will be held, yes.

Mr. Morong: Sir, ano lang, just a sound bite on bakit nag-decide si Presidente to meet the jeepney strikers personally, because I don’t think it has happened in the past na the President himself would meet with, you know — ?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, as the… As the release said, it was an assurance that he would also listen to them because their own concerns were different from this DOLE.

Maricel Halili (TV 5): Sir, just a clarification. So does it mean that the department order coming — with regards to the contractualization, which was issued by the Labor department, will be amended following the meeting?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think it will be… It’s being facilitated and there will be a few adjustments.

Ms. Halili: So what’s the instruction of the President to Secretary Bello with regards that, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think it’s… He’s…The President is supportive of both, the contractualization… However, it has — it needs to go through due process. 

Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Sir, regarding kay NIA Chief Peter Laviña.


Ms. Sancho: Ang sabi kasi ni CabSec, nag-submit ng resignation. Sinasabi naman ng… Tinatanong namin ‘yung mga tao sa labor group na nandoon sa meeting with the President, sinibak po siya ng Pangulo. So sinibak po ba siya o nag-resign talaga si Peter Laviña?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Basahin ko na lang sa inyo ‘yung statement magmumula sa CabSec, okay? Sa Office of the CabSec: “NIA Administrator Peter Laviña has tendered his resignation amidst attempts to vilify, discredit and malign him and to spare the President from any embarrassment due to these attempts. It is with this deep regret that our office receives this news and we wishes him well in his next endeavors.”

Ms. Sancho: Sir, tinanggap na rin ng Pangulo, sir?


Ms. Sancho: Walang dahilan, sir, na sinabi si Laviña sa kanyang resignation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Para… According to the statement he did it… It was a proactive action on his part.

Ms. Sancho: Why daw, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As I read, it is to spare the President from any embarrassments. Yes, Mr. Dexter?

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Just a follow up, sir, doon sa kay NIA Chief Peter Laviña. Noong Friday ng gabi sa launching ng expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission, sa kanyang speech binanggit ng Pangulo, and I quote ‘yung transcript niya: “When I said there will be no corruption, there will be no corruption. As a matter of fact, I fired last night one, taga-Davao, for simply making a remark about…” And making a gesture of his hand, parang humihingi ‘yung gesture ng hand ng Pangulo. “Sabi ko, he’s out and I told him even a whiff of corruption talagang tatanggalin kita.”


Mr. Ganibe: Is it Laviña he is talking about? And wala naman ibang nasibak sa puwesto.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay…Wala… There is no mention made of a name. So let’s leave it at that. Thank you, next.

Henry Uri (DZRH): Sir, pasensya na po para eksakto lang ho ‘yung aming mailabas na balita. Kasi iba ho ‘yung sinibak, kapag sinibak ibig sabihin naniwala ang Pangulo doon sa anomalya. Kapag tinanggal ibig sabihin nagkusa siya pero hindi naman ho naniniwala pa ang Pangulo. So ano ho ‘yung talagang totoo sinibak ho ba siya o nag-resign siya?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s go by what was stated. He tendered his resignation. Thank you.

Mr. Uri: So hindi ho sinibak?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Wala po akong sinasabing sinibak.

Ms. Halili: Sir, since the President already accepted the resignation of Administrator Laviña does it mean that he already lose — lost his trust to Laviña?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know if that you can, you know, we can — you know, generate all these implications.

But let’s just say, the man resigned and the President accepted it. Plain and simple. Thank you.

Ms. Halili: Sir, sino ‘yung possible na pumalit kay Laviña as NIA administrator.


Ms. Halili: Thank you, sir. 

Mr. Uri: Sir, related lang dun kay Ms. Halili. Totoo bang si…I don’t know kung si General Ric Visaya daw po ang papalit?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ah that’s interesting. But I don’t know. Let’s check that out.

Mr. Morong: Sir, is the Palace aware of mga bribery allegations as far as that case is concerned?


Mr. Morong: With regard to the resignation, sir, or the sacking of Laviña. Is the Palace aware of any stories of bribery?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s put it this way, whatever the Palace understands or knows, leave it to them. However, what is quite crucial is the fact that the man resigned. That’s it, simple.

Mr. Morong: Sir, kasi during the — he played a crucial part in the campaign. Was it easy for the President to let him go just like that?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I supposed it has its own difficulties. But let’s… You know, a job is a job. The man resigned. Let’s leave it at that. Thank you. 

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Hi, sir, good noon. Sir, ngayong araw magkabotohan sa Kamara ‘yung death penalty. I understand that priority bill of the administration. With all the pressure be exerted by the — by Congressman Alvarez, are you confident that the bill would finally hurdle all those — those against the proposed bill?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You know, as the President would say, he would let the Senate and let the House undergo its own process. Let’s just wait how they…

Mr. Tinaza: So you are advocating or allowing the vote of conscience to each member of the Congress?


Mr. Tinaza: Yes.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I have no opinion. That’s not my job.

Mr. Ganibe: Yes, sir. Related lang sa death, Makabayan bloc — I don’t know if they already filed this morning a resolution today urging President Duterte for appeal for — appeal for executive clemency for OFW Jennifer Dalquez who is facing execution in UAE?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Yes. That’s a matter of DFA and we will refer to that. 

Mr. Ganibe: Ang Pangulo ang nirerequest nila, sir, na mag-executive clemen — ang marerequest ng executive clemency.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay, it will be the task of the DFA to further that request. Thank you. 

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, good afternoon. Related sa death penalty. When the bill passes Congress it will be sent to the President for his signature. Will he be okay signing a death penalty bill that does not include plunder because corruption is a major program of his administration?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It will be his call. It will be his call to…I mean to say whether you are asking whether he’ll be what? 

Ms. Salaverria: Okay with signing…With the death penalty bill that does not include plunder?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I wouldn’t know how he would respond to it. But let’s just wait for the process to unfold. Okay.

Ms. Salaverria: But what is his position? What kind of crimes does he want to be punishable by death?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, based on — based on [how do you call it?]… Based on the actual — the way it’s going right now, the Senate seems to feel that it should be focused only on illegal drugs. 

I don’t know. The President does not made any comments regarding the matter. 

Ms. Salaverria: But he… The return of the death penalty was a major — parang a priority bill of his. He mentioned this during the campaign. 


Ms. Salaverria: So what’s his…What does he really want?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, he hasn’t verbalized…He hasn’t verbalized anything regarding the developments of the matter. 

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, on another topic. 


Ms. Salaverria: About the PARC meeting. Was it…Was the morato… The executive order on the moratorium on land conversion discussed? Because it was mentioned back in September but wala pa rin yata?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Regarding the land conversion, you are asking about that? It’s a headline in your papers today. Okay.

The Office of ES and CabSec…CabSec earlier convened in the agency meetings to work on a draft executive order as a moratorium — for a moratorium on acceptance of new applications — of new, okay, of new applications for conversion of agri lands.

The fourth version is already with ES and that’s under study and that should come out soon.     

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you. 

Ms. Nichols: Hi, sir. Sir, just to get a reaction on a column published in PDI today, sir, by former Communications Undersecretary Manolo Quezon. Sir, he is saying that the administration is working for the President to proclaim a revolutionary government. And parang part daw ‘nun, sir, ‘yung naging rally in Luneta last Saturday. He is saying that the one working on this particularly is DILG Secretary Sueno, sir, because he also mentioned the issuance of a memo asking for supporters to go to Luneta and that rally may not be the last daw, sir. Can we get a reaction?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let me clarify. The opinion writer was suggesting that it is intention of the administration to create a revolutionary government?

Ms. Nichols: Yes, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As it is, it already is revolutionary. It’s operating out of the box. I don’t think it is really necessary to create anything like that.

Ms. Nichols: He is saying that what the government wants is the type of government wherein…The Preside…Wherein they are sayi…Means for the President to permanently neutralize his critics or any institution agonizing over Constitutional checks and balances by abolishing existing legal framework of government.  

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think that’s reading too much into what the President is doing. It’s reading too much. Thank you.

Mr. Ganibe: Hi, Usec. May words na po ba tungkol doon sa meeting ni Pangulong Duterte kagabi kay COMELEC Chairman Bautista?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So far none. Wala po akong ano… Wala po akong…

Mr. Ganibe: Kung ano ‘yung… 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Napag-usapan…Wala po akong ano… I don’t have any information regarding that. 

Mr. Ganibe: Okay. 

Tina Mendez (The Philippine Star): As a follow up, sir. Sir, hindi ba medyo questionable ‘yung timing ng meeting with COMELEC Chairman in view of reports doon sa issue ng data privacy breach? 


Ms. Mendez: Ang meeting with the President? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I wouldn’t know whether it’s questionable or not.

But if I go by his appointments, you know, some of these meetings, you know, have been programmed like two, three months ago. 

So you can’t really say. I mean, let’s just put it… Maybe it’s destiny. All right.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, ‘yung data breach was last year pa.


Ms. Mendez: Si Commissioner… Ay si Chairman Bautista is facing possible charges of data privacy breach last year pa iyon.  

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay. I cannot read any implications right now. I can check. I can find out.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, why was he called for a meeting? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Usually it is not the President who calls. It is usually there’s somebody who applies for an appointment.

Ms. Mendez: So, si Chairman Bautista asked for the meeting?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I am not sure. He probably did.